Generally called the “power of the purse,” with the flick of their magic wand, these “superhero lawmakers” love the fact that they can wade into almost any policy debate and increase or restrict funding for a government program that would otherwise lose in a clear majority under the “usual” rules. Saved by the Bell? Not quite… This is when our superhero wannabes shine by narrowly sliding in legislature at the last minute. Yesterday was no different; apparently over a dozen of these men and women changed their vote the very last minute. This hodgepodge is chock full of questionable legislature that has been rushed to beat the stroke of midnight before Cinderella’s chariot turns back into a pumpkin. If you thought your red cape donning heroes would save the day, your sadly mistaken. Their agenda seemed to align with the blue jammie warriors when it came down to trying to cram a full years worth of legislature into one night for the sake of avoiding shutting down the Government. If you ask me, what better way to squeeze questionable legislature into action than by dumping it all on at the last minute with a very short timeline.
So without further adieu let’s take a look at some of what’s included:
The bill only funds the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees most immigration policy, until February. But negotiators gave new money for immigration programs at other federal agencies. There’s $948 million for the Department of Health and Human Service’s unaccompanied children program — an $80 million increase. The program provides health and education services to the young migrants. The department also gets $14 million to help school districts absorbing new immigrant students. And the State Department would get $260 million to assist Central American countries from where of the immigrant children are coming.
WHITE HOUSE BUDGET:
There’s $222 million for executive mansion operations, a $10 million increase. The money pays for the National Security and Homeland Security councils, the Council of Economic Advisers, the vice president’s office and the executive residence. The bill doesn’t provide any new funding “to address security weaknesses at the White House complex,” according to Democrats. But the U.S. Secret Service would be allowed to use some of its funding “to prepare and train for the next presidential election campaign,” Democrats said.
The bill would dramatically expand the amount of money that wealthy political donors could inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Bottom line: A donor who gave the maximum $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee would be able to donate another $291,600 on top of that to the party’s additional arms — a total of $324,000, ten times the current limit. Read more on this here.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:
The agency gets $8.1 billion, down $60 million from the last fiscal year. The agency’s budget has been slashed by $2.2 billion, or 21 percent, since fiscal 2010, according to GOP aides. The cuts mean that EPA will have to reduce its staffing to the lowest levels since 1989
FEDERAL WORKER PAY (AND CONFERENCES):
The bill allows a 1 percent pay raise (ordered by Obama) to take effect in January. And the legacy of embarrassing spending scandals at federal agencies persist as Congress once again banned or put limits on certain conferences, official travel and some employee awards.
Moral of the story… Red or blue, it really doesn’t matter they’re all the same at the end of the day.